'Too early to label Pathan as an all-rounder'
Captain Rahul Dravid on Tuesday cautioned against getting carried away by Irfan Pathan's success with the bat and labelling him as an all-rounder in Andrew Flintoff mould.
Left-arm pacer Pathan slammed four sixes and eight fours during his knock of 83 from 70 balls as India thrashed Sri Lanka by 152 runs in the first one-day cricket international at the VCA Ground here.
But Dravid said Pathan was a long way from being a true all-rounder.
"He's a bowler who can bat. His primary job is to bowl well. We know he can bat too, but let's not get carried away and describe him as another Andrew Flintoff," he said to a pointed query.
Asked about Pathan's promotion to number three in the batting order, Dravid said "we thought it would be better for him to have a go when the ball was hard in the first 20 overs rather than later against the spinners when the ball would be soft.
"We thought that me and (Mahender Singh) Dhoni, who's a fine finisher, would rather play out the spinners."
"The partnership between Sachin and Irfan gave us the platform to score 350 runs," Dravid added.
The captain said it was one of those days when everything went the team's way.
"It was just one of those days when whatever we did clicked and our plans succeeded. We played well in all departments of the game. It was a splendid team effort," Dravid, later declared the man of the match for his fine knock of 85 not out, said.
"Sachin Tendulkar batted beautifully and it's great for the team. He looked in splendid touch as if he's not been off the game at all in these last six months," said Dravid while describing the ace batsman's splendid knock of 93 and his 164-run stand with Pathan.
Tendulkar was coming off after a six-month lay-off following an elbow surgery. His last ODI was against Pakistan on April 17 at Delhi.
Describing the Nagpur wicket as a good one, Dravid said he had to bring on spinnners early in the Lankan run-chase so as to slow down the visitors' scoring rate.
"Their run rate was 7.5 or so and they seemed to be taking off. I brought Harbhajan and Sehwag on to slow down the game and it worked wonders as we got rid off Jayasuriya and Sangakkara in two overs which, I feel, was the turning point," he said.
"Not very often do we win a game by such a huge margin and it happened against a top side like Lanka. As I said, everything clicked today.
"The victory was a good beginning but we should not get carried away as we have to go a long way (to win the 7-match rubber)," he concluded.